In May of 2000, I hit rock bottom. I thought I was doing society a favor by getting rid of myself. My parents had passed-on, and my family didn’t know what to do to help me. I had so much negativity in my life. I lived alone, which was not good. I thought I had no friends. So, one day I decided to get rid of myself. But for some reason, I realized I didn’t want to do it. So I called my sister-in-law, who lived out-of-state, because I felt like she understood me. I told her what I did.
Somehow she contacted my friends (as I said before, I thought I had no friends). They said something to me about going to the hospital. I said, “I can sleep it off. I’ve done it before.” My friends didn’t know about that.
I finally decided to go to the hospital if it made my friends feel better. Once I was there, I realized I was in the right place. While I was there, Jane, a GROW Fieldworker, held an orientation group. Jane explained how the program works – we help each other. If I would have had GROW before, I wouldn’t have been in the hospital. Though at the time, I really didn’t think it would work, but I thought I would give it a try. I was cynical.
It was a couple of weeks before I attended my first GROW meeting. That first GROW meeting made me feel so much better, as somebody else had a problem that was familiar ground to me. Also the confidentiality was something that “right struck” me. Like the Blue Book’s “Comforting Paradox” on page 9 says, “Mostly, when things go wrong, they’re meant to go wrong, so we can outgrow, what we have to outgrow.”
One of the first things that caught my attention in the Blue Book was on page 14, Number One of the “Five First Keys for Understanding Feelings”, “Feelings are not facts,” since I was frequently going by my feelings.
When I first came into the program, I did not like the First Step of the “Twelve Steps of Recovery and Personal Growth,” “We admitted we were inadequate or maladjusted to life” (Blue Book, p. 5).
At that time, I thought it was other people who could change, not me. Also, for a long time I thought that the “Principle of Personal Value” applied to others, but not me. It reads:
“No matter how bad my physical, mental, social or spiritual condition, I am always a human person loved by God and a connecting link between persons. I am still valuable; my life has a purpose; and I have my unique place and my unique part in my Creator’s own saving, healing and transforming work” (Blue Book, p. 7).
I didn’t tell everyone I was attending GROW meetings, but everyone could see the difference in me. At first, when I felt down I could call a friend from GROW, and they knew where I was coming from. I still get down sometimes, but I am not suicidal anymore. I know I have friends who will support me.
Some people with strong personalities get to me. There was one person who liked to tell me what to do. With the help of the group, I learned to speak up and get my point across without raising my voice. The group encouraged me in this area with the GROW wisdom, “Talk to rather than about your problem person” (Blue Book, p. 52).
My family and friends have seen the “Three Basic Changes” (Blue Book, p. 13) take place during my recovery. They are:
1. Change of thinking and talk.
2. Change of ways.
3. Change of relationships.
I’ve found out “the best in life, love and happiness is ahead of me, not behind me”. Through it all, I tried and still continue to renew my will to change with the support of GROW.
There are some GROW wisdoms that helped me through my recovery and continue to help me. They are:
“Those who matter don’t mind; those who mind don’t matter.” (Blue Book, p. 72)
“Be sorry for those who don’t understand (instead of resenting them).” (Blue Book, p. 6)
“God doesn’t make junk.” (Blue Book p. 21)
“Growth is painful – but permanently rewarding.” (Blue Book p. 27)
“If the rough road gets you there and the smooth one doesn’t, which are you going to choose?” (Blue Book p. 32)
Also, there is a personal motto of mine that I go by, and I think GROW does too:
“Don’t go in front of me, I might not follow. Don’t go behind me, I might not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”
I attended the group faithfully for a couple of years until it closed. The group challenged me to change, but also stood beside me (which I wasn’t used to). The support from the group was excellent, as they realized where I was coming from.
My family relationships turned around, and it’s all because of GROW. The communication is better, and it has restored some unhappy relationships. The understanding is much better. I just want to thank GROW for it. It is a real blessing, and it seems that I can’t be thankful enough. The only thing I would want to change is finding out about GROW sooner. It’s hard to believe that anyone has had faith in me like GROW has, and I couldn’t have done it without GROW. I want to tell others about GROW because I have attended other kinds of groups, and none came close to matching the GROW program.
Thanks, GROW, for being there!